Friday, 31 July 2009

Look Mama! No Feet!

We finally took the training wheels of Littletree’s bike! And the pedals.

That might sound a little strange, but I have come to realise that training wheels were a really bad idea. After two years of riding this bike, she still couldn’t really ride effectively, even *with* the training wheels on.

This is a kid who could, sitting on her bike, with training wheels, perfectly still, on flat ground, not going anywhere, and still manage to fall off and topple the whole bike over.

Basically, training wheels mean that you can never get the hang of balancing. I found out in Europe it’s common to get training bikes that don’t have any pedals – kids who are just about big enough to start riding get these bikes and just coast along on their feet. Thus they learn to balance, and how to lean into curves, which is the tricky part. Then they get onto a pedal bike and can ride pretty much right away.

So after many long discussions, and another agonising play-date with friends who can ride normal bikes, Littletree agreed that she wanted to take off both the training wheels and the pedals.

12 bike riding 

She was a bit wobbly at first, but in the distance from our house to the village – about 500M, she made more progress at riding than she has in the past 2 years on training wheels!


We think that after a week of riding days, she’ll be ready for pedals again and a fully-fledged cyclist :D Then I reckon she’ll be ready to move into her own apartment ;)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Crochet Queen

I've been getting back into crochet since the rainbow gathering. I used to crochet a LOT, but I haven't done much in the past couple of years except for the occasional water bottle holder and teaching crochet workshops at rainbow gatherings.

At the rainbow gathering I added a few more heart sections to Littletree's baby blanket that I started when I was pregnant with her - every now and then I add a bit more to it, so it grows as she does

15 heart blanket

I also made the hat I mentioned before and a new water bottle holder for Littletree - this one pink with a crocheted Brazilian flag on it (because Littletree is Brasilian)

14 brasil bottle

And I made myself some matching leg warmers and wrist warmers from this yummy mohair blend wool I bought years ago in Turkey.

107 crochet

They're so warm and fluffy :)

09 wrist warmers

So I'm getting back into it, having realised that I don't need to set aside time for crocheting - I can just keep some yarn and hooks in my handbag and work on things whenever I'm hanging out somewhere.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

This week Littletree was invited to the birthday party of a home schooled girl in our area. The party was at a lake nearby and the kids had a fantastic time.

01 dam

As well as riding bikes and scooters around and enjoying the park and play equipment, someone brought a kite!

03 kite

It was a perfect kite day - a strong breeze but not too windy

04 kite

We had a fantastic time and Littletree made a bunch of new friends.

05 kite 

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Raising Children Safe

While we were away another of my Natural Parenting articles was published at Essence of Life

This one, called, Safety Comes From Within, is about the folly of "stranger danger" and raising children respectfully, so that they are safe.

You can read it HERE

Don't forget to check out the Essence of Life FORUMS where you can join on the discussions about the articles on the site, or just anything spiritually-related :)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

In the Valley with the Sprites

Though we were sad to leave the rainbow gathering, we were glad to be heading home. After driving all the way up there in  and take 4 days to get homethings a little slower and take 4 days to get home, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but the reality was spending twice as many days bored in the car.

Littletree managed to pass the time by singing. At the rainbow someone had been singing a Christian song that has a refrain of "Jesus, Prince of Peace, Glory Halleluja". Littletree clearly had the song stuck in her head, and she sung it constantly for about 1500km. Well, a version of it anyway:

Jesus, princess bees.

We did stop often so we could stretch our legs and let Littletree have a run around. Her frisbee skills are greatly improving

086 frisbee

We also searched for faeries in the gorgeous tropical parks around

090 waterfall

Finally we made it to Valleysprite's house for a visit. The kids all had a great time, playing with the ducks,

092 duck

Playing in the forest cubby 

098 forest cubby

and climbing the sheaoak saplings

100 tree climbing

Valleysprite made an amazing cheesecake - all organic with flaxseed flour

105 su's cheesecake

and we finished off with a go on their ginormous swing

108 swing

It's seriously the best swing ever!

110 swing

It was a fun trip, but it was nice to be home. Except for the huge pile of laundry we brought back with us!

111 laundry

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Rainbow Gathering part II

In following on from my last post about our trip up to far north Queensland for the Australian Rainbow Gathering (which you can read HERE), here's some more highlights from the journey:

Regular drum circles in the evening

008 drum circle

Me drying my hair after a swim:

014 dread mama

I brought a pretty extensive first aid kit with me, both herbal/homeopathic and allopathic, so I found myself treating lots of minor injuries and illnesses, including this chamomile tea eye-patch:

018 rainbow pirate

We had some spontaneous lessons - Littletree decided that we would save her pocket money while we were at the rainbow (there's no where to spend money there anyway) and she wanted to work out how much money she was saving, which led to discussions about multiplication tables. She was fascinated with the idea and quickly learned the 1, 2 and 10 times tables, as well as a bunch of the 3 and 7s. When it started getting tricky, we moved on to using groups of pebbles to work them out.

033 learning

Purple played his silver flute a lot and impressed us all with how good he's getting

034 flute

Here's one of the things I crocheted - a rainbow striped hat that took me about 4 or 5 hours. I also added some sections to Littletree's blanket and made myself mohair leg warmers.

050 hat

In rainbow people can really show their true colours :)

044 simon

039 daisy

We had a resident hygiene hand-spray cowgirl

041 hygiene cowgirl

Hair-wrap workshops

051 hair wrap

and the best breakfast ever - here modelled by the most gorgeous woman

066 rose

And of course no rainbow would be complete without an all-night mission to make more pizza than 100 hippies can eat!

060 pizza mission

The oven was awesome - made out of an old barrel and structured with stones and mortar made from termite hills, it survived four rainy seasons and is still going strong!

061 pizza mission

The beauty of rainbow magic was that one brother had a vision to make pizzas, and then 2 other guys showed up to help that turned out to be an Italian chef and an American pizza chef!

055 pizza mission

And what rainbow mission would be complete without some funky music and a bunch of people dancing!?

059 pizza mission

Okay, there's more, but this post is getting way too long. I'll save the trip home for another post tomorrow. You can check out the full album of photos on my flickr page HERE

Monday, 20 July 2009

Far North Queensland Rainbow Gathering

We're back from rainbow land! The gathering was wonderful; we had a fantastic time. And of course, it's also great to be home.

The journey up was pretty easy - we drove 1900km (about 1200mi) in 2 days, which included frequent playground stops for Littletree to run around with other kids (our favourite was the roadside JumpingPillow at Rollingstone)

004 jumping pillow

We arrived to the area near the rainbow after dark, so we decided to camp nearby and come in the early morning, rather than trying to find hippie trails in the dark. After walking in 2 full loads of gear and setting up our camp, Purple and I collapsed into bed, exhausted, only to be woken up at 4am by the freezing cold!

Learning the lesson, I dressed warmly to sleep the next night, and we settled in to enjoy rainbow. We set up a great camp, which involved a lot of work digging and carrying sand to make a nice flat area in the rocky riverbed, but the end result was worth it.

009 our camp

I even had a great office area set up so I could keep up with my studies:

005 study

While the nights were cold (we were at 900M elevation - about 3000ft), the days were hot and sunny, so we spent a lot of time relaxing in the shade or the chai shop

038 chai shop

And hanging around the sweet, fresh river, which was absolutely spectacular and had many little waterfalls and "jacuzzis" in the rapids

036 river

076 river

I joined in on Sisters' Circles, did a lot of crochet and held a workshop on natural fertility, as well as a lot of working in the kitchen. 

The kitchen is for me, the best part of rainbow. There are 2 meals provided daily, and a large main kitchen, but there aren't any workers or bosses. There's no one whose job it is to cook the dinner or buy the food or wash the pots or collect wood or carry water. People just show up to help and we all work together, cooking delicious vegetarian food for hundreds of people on an open fire, without running water or electricity. 020 kitchen

I always have a great time in the kitchen. I think this photo was the day Purple and I made Cholent for the whole gathering.

Breakfast circles were under some shady trees to hide from the sun

042 breakfast circle

While dinner circle was on the rock in the riverbed.

054 food circle

So this is getting long - I came home with a LOT of photos, which after deleting crap ones, was still 111 photos exactly! I'll only share the highlights on the blog, but you can see the full set of photos HERE 

and just because I can't resist, I'll do a 'rainbow part II' post tomorrow ;)